When it comes to connecting with potential clients, social media is not to be slighted. Whether your favorite platform is Instagram or Twitter, simply posting great content is not enough—you also need to lead your audience to it. The easiest way to do this is with hashtags.
But what hashtags should you be making use of? Below is a rundown of the most widely used hashtags in the real estate game. Use them to grow your audience and bolster your online presence.
Broad Tags These tags are general and will catch a wide net of followers.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the cost of homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the company you buy from. Below are some of the Institute’s most important things to consider – which could save you big bucks – when buying homeowners insurance.
1. Shop Around – Ask your friends, check the web or contact your state insurance department. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org) has information to help choose an insurer in your state, and on registering complaints.
2. Raise Your Deductible – Today, the Institute says most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent.
3. Don’t confuse what you paid for your house with rebuilding costs – The land under your house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowners policy. So don’t include its value in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy.
4. Buy home and auto policies from the same insurer – Some companies will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. Just be sure the combined price is lower than buying separate coverage from different companies.
5. Make your home more disaster resistant – You may save on premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials. In addition, consider modernizing heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.
6. Improve home security – Does your insurer give discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks? Some companies offer to cut premiums by up to 20 percent if you install a sprinkler system, or a fire/burglar alarm that rings at a central dispatch or monitoring station. Before you buy a system, however, find out what the insurer recommends, how much it would cost and how much you might save on premiums.
When you are ready to buy or sell a home- we are here for you, at Dupont Real Estate. We look forward to hearing from you.
Fourth of July is a great time to celebrate with family and friends. You can easily celebrate the Fourth of July without leaving your home.
Have a Fourth of July BBQ
If you didn’t get invited to a party this year, host your own, but take it up a notch from the same old hot dogs and burgers on the grill. Host a bake off and have your friends each bring their favorite recipe in a specified category—then vote on a winner (maybe even create a trophy and make it an annual tradition). Feeling brave? Host an Independence Day reenactment. (If you have kids, this is a good time for them to practice researching).
Watch a Movie Under the Stars
Enjoy the time at home celebrating your favorite traditions, but after the sun goes down, consider getting a projector and outdoor screen to watch a movie. Pop some popcorn, make some s’mores, and invite the neighborhood over to join you.
Create a Backyard Oasis Make your backyard THE place to be this Independence Day. Create a theme—host your own carnival, have an adult slip ‘n’ slide, kiddie pools to soak away the heat, and fun games. Think of all of the summer activities you like the best and include them. Decorate in a unique way to make it a fun day for you, your family, and friends. Don’t have a backyard? Talk to your landlord about using your rooftop, find a park nearby, or even turn your apartment or house into the most amazing holiday space!
Enjoy some alone time Though summer is supposed to be a time to unwind and relax, it seems that the calendar stays just as full as ever. Check your schedule to see if the Fourth of July might be one of the only days you have one hundred percent free to dedicate to your spouse or family. If so, maybe shirk the traditions and have a special date night or family night to spend time with the people you love.
Go camping in your back yard
Set up tents, a fire pit, and “live off the land” from the comfort of your own backyard. Enjoy a night under the stars and outdoor cooking with your family. Having inclement weather, but still want to have a little fun? Create forts, get out your sleeping bags, and have a camp out indoors!
Let the kids plan the day
Have kids? Let them plan what you’re going to do. Set a budget, give them some guidance if they need it, and let them plan a fun Fourth of July for you at your home.
Have a July Fourth sports-a-thon
Invite the block over for some friendly competition. Set up a volleyball and badminton net, invest in corn hole equipment, and toss around a few hula hoops. Make sure all ages you’ll have at your house will have a sport to participate in. If your family and guests are interested, have a friendly competition with fun prizes. You’ll feel like you live in the nicest small town in America.
Who said you had to go out for Independence Day? From hosting your own creative party to creating a backyard oasis, there are a slew of ways to make the holiday amazing right where you are.
Green homes are becoming a really big deal these days. Whether that means that an older home is being retrofitted with energy-saving equipment or a brand spanking new one is growing up green, it is apparently much easier to be green than we’ve been led to believe.
The Numbers Are Coming In on Green Homes A long-term study of homes in the Austin-Round Rock, Texas, area found that homes built between 2008 and 2016 got a significant value boost from their efforts. Homes that held the gold standard Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification were worth, on average, eight percent more than traditionally built homes.
That might not sound like a lot, but when you consider the average new home in that market sells for $311,000, and eight percent of that is $24,888, it’s kind of a big deal. Even homes built to a more generic “green” standard saw a six percent price boost. That’s a lot of green for being green.
Elements of a LEED-Certified Green Home So great, green houses are worth a lot more than their counterparts. What does it even mean to be “green?” This is a great question that has been asked again and again. Green homes are more than skin-deep. When you’re talking about new construction, these are homes that were designed from the ground up to be the least disruptive to the environment and very energy efficient.
These six items are necessities for any green housing certification:
* Site planning and development. Although we don’t really consider it much, we’re major disruptions to native plant and animal life, what with all of our house-building and whatnot. Site planning starts with a site that’s not located near protected spaces like wetlands. Then the house is placed on the plan with an orientation such that it can take maximum advantage of green technology like solar panels and wind turbines. * Material origin and longevity. Your green home is made of materials that were each carefully considered and chosen for a particular reason (and not because they were the cheapest!). Factors that are taken into account include the manufacturing process, distance to transport the materials and even what the material is made of. The goal is to increase durability so you don’t have to replace anything soon and reduce overall resource consumption. * Smart water use. Not only are green buildings designed to waste as little water as possible, with low-flow faucets, shower heads and toilets, they should even be built to help prevent runoff. Gray water is often rerouted to landscape and rainwater is collected and either sent into the ground through a trench, pit or well to prevent erosion around the house or it’s used to water landscape. * A high level of energy efficiency. Each and every item in a green home is meant to keep the entire system as efficient as possible. This means high R-rated insulation, highly efficient HVAC systems, low energy use light bulbs and even those solar panels or wind turbines that were taken into consideration in the site plan. * Excellent indoor air quality. Hey, it’s not all about saving money, green homes are also homes that are easier to live in. When your house vents combusting appliances properly, has minimal off-gassing from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and plenty of ventilation to purge any fumes that may linger, you can be sure you’re breathing crystal-clear air in a greener home. * Proper operation and maintenance. When the home is built and sold, the real challenge begins. How a homeowner maintains and runs their equipment has a huge impact on how green their home truly is. By leaving a breadcrumb trail of tools like smart thermostats, water-saving fixtures and highly efficient appliances, a green builder is doing what they can to ensure homeowners stick to the plan.
Even if you own an older home, you can bring it up to LEED standards with a great deal of effort. Adding green elements bit by bit is less of an overwhelming process, which is why so many people are green remodeling these days.
That could mean anything from installing a new HVAC system and vents that better disburse that highly efficient climate control to adding solar panels to help with electricity usage or just working on one conservation effort at a time, like water consumption. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation.
Greening Up My Home Is Too Overwhelming… It’s ok, that’s why you have your HomeKeepr community! Just search the home pros your Realtor has recommended and you’ll quickly find an expert that can get started turning your home into a lean, green machine. Whether it’s a Jolly Green Giant of a job or a little sprig, you’ll find the green and LEED-certified experts you need inside.
You pull into and out of your garage hundreds of time a year, ever expecting your door to reliably open and close at your whim. Going up and down so much can be pretty taxing, which is why after being neglected for months or years, garage doors rightfully start to complain loudly.
If your door sounds more like a train’s “clack-clack” as it runs down the track, you’ve definitely let things go way too far. Fortunately, garage doors tend to be pretty foolproof and tolerate neglect more than other important parts in your home. But you’re not going to be neglectful, you’re going to do regular inspections and maintenance so it’ll last even longer, right?
image by HomeKeepr
Parts of a Garage Door This may come as some surprise, but a garage door is more than a door. It’s a system of moving parts that we conveniently label as a “door.” Modern garage door systems include important pieces like:
* Opener. You know this one, it’s that big box in the center of the garage ceiling. The opener is designed with a shuttle that moved the door up and down with the help of a chain, screw or belt-driven motor. You can even get Smart Garage door openers now. * Springs and cables. Your door might feel light if you manually lift it while it’s hung, but this is because of a highly tensioned giant spring (or two) mounted above your door and the cables that are attached. Always treat these with the respect required, they can be very dangerous to work on directly (call a pro!). * Sensors. If you look closely near the bottom of each garage door track, you’ll see sensors that resemble tiny cameras. As a team they maintain an almost invisible laser beam that causes the door to reverse if something suddenly breaks it during door decent.
Of course, there are other bits and pieces we could talk about, but this is about taking care of your door, not examining its anatomy. We’ll do that another time. Just understand that these three systems are vital to the door’s function and without all of them in working order, the door becomes very unsafe and unreliable
Taking Care of Your Home’s Biggest Front Door If you can’t remember the last time you did anything with your garage door, now is the time to get on this. The weather’s perfect and you could stand to get outside anyway. There are a few tasks that you should absolutely not attempt without help or considerable experience, like replacing a broken spring, but for the most part, garage door maintenance is a snap.
Run down this checklist and your door will be ready to roll again!
* Tighten all screws and bolts. That rattling sound isn’t just for ambience, your garage door vibrates as it moves up and down, slowly backing screws and bolts out. Start at the bottom and work your way up, tightening all fasteners and replacing any that seem to be missing or broken. Don’t forget to check the hinges between door panels!
* Pull the manual garage door release. With the garage door closed, pull that handle hanging down from your opener. With the opener’s shuttle unlocked, check your door’s balance by opening the door about half way. If it stays where you put it, you’re gold. If not, call a pro to help — rebalancing a door can be difficult and dangerous. Don’t forget to push the door open all the way to re-engage the opener’s shuttle.
* Check the safety reversal system. Grab a scrap 2×4, cement block or something of similar size and shape and place it directly in the path of the garage door. Make sure that the object isn’t breaking the beam, since this is testing a different part of your system. Now, shut the door using the garage door opener.
If the door stops as soon as contact is made, your safety reversal system is set properly. If not, you’ll need to find your manual and look up which knob or button is used to decrease the force required to stop the door. This is one of those things you’ll test way more often than you’ll have to adjust.
* Break the beam. Check that the indicator lights on your infrared sensors are showing that the eyes are adjusted properly. Once they’re looking deeply into each other’s eye, close the garage door. Before it reaches the ground, pass a broom between the sensors. The door should stop, otherwise your sensors may need to be cleaned or replaced.
* Grease some squeaky wheels. You’ve tightened hardware, tested the door’s safety features and you’re ready to go nap in your hammock. But wait! There’s one more thing. It’s time to lube the beast. You won’t actually be lubricating a lot of the system, you’ll be cleaning it, but it’ll run more smoothly and that’s the point.
Start with the track itself, cleaning it with carburetor or brake cleaner and a cloth. Next, using a silicone based garage door lubricant, spray between the pin and wheel on each roller, wiping off any excess (lubricant doesn’t belong on the track). If your rollers are nylon, take extra special care because they slip easily.
You can also use the same lubricant to coat the outside of your torsion spring (the one above the door itself). Again watch for drips.
Are You Feeling a Bit More TGIF Than DIY? Not everyone wants to take their garage door into their own hands. Even people who do sometimes hit problems that they simply don’t have the expertise to handle. That’s ok, that’s why the HomeKeepr community is such a thriving resource — everyone you could ever need to call is participating! Just log in and check out the overhead door experts that your Realtor has already recommended. They can come out and give your door a quick one-over, then set up inexpensive regular maintenance, saving you thousands of dollars in major repairs. Taken from HomeKeepr.com
When you are ready to buy or sell a house, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.
Dress up your house on a budget with these great tips!
Owning a house is a never-ending adventure in investing your heart and soul into a wholly unique structure. Some homeowners have great big budgets for massive changes or enhancements to their home, others are working with a shoestring. If you’re in the second group, you can still put your mark on your house. There are plenty of ways to personalize it without spending a lot of money.
Image from HomeKeepr.com
Even Simple Changes Create Huge Home Impacts After the stress of moving is over and the dust has settled, you may start to ponder other ways to enhance your new home. When you moved in, it was pretty generic, with cream-colored walls, light brown carpet and an outside paint job that absolutely no one could find offensive. A lot of houses end up in this generic state when the owner is wanting a fast sale, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way!
Take a look at these small projects that can really make your home pop:
Replace the front door. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost Versus Value Report, replacing your front door is one of the most value-packed changes you can make to your home. A new door not only creates a new focal point, it allows you to really get personal. These days you can special order doors in nearly any size with exquisite touches like frosted or stained glass, as well as bigger units that have full size windows on either side.
Remodeling Magazine ranked front door replacement third in cost recuperation; the best value return on the list was also a door. Consider your garage door while you’re upgrading. Like front doors, garage doors are becoming increasingly detailed, with lots of options for personalization. Because they take up so much real estate on the front of your house, a new garage door can make your home look completely different.
Choose a paint scheme with more than two colors. That’s not to say that you should go wild and paint your house in every color of the rainbow, but by using at least three colors, you can draw attention to the neat little details instead of letting them get lost in a monotone trim color. For example, if your post-World War two era home has neat porch brackets and dentils, you might paint those features to match the front door so they pop out from the trim. Just don’t go crazy with color or the effect will be lost in the cacophony.
Add shutters and window boxes. On the right house, shutters or window boxes can pack a huge visual wallop. Choose shutters that are appropriate for the style of your home, even if you need to special order them. You can keep them seriously low-maintenance by selecting vinyl shutters in the color you’re after — just hang them and forget it. The same goes for window boxes. Low maintenance boxes with colorful flowers can help perk up plain windows.
Relight the night. Details matter and that includes your lighting. Get rid of those generic carriage lights and clunky motion detecting flood lights and install some impressive lighting on the outside of your home. There are lots of styles to choose between, many with motion detection built-in, and several sizes. Lighting that fits in the space appropriately, provides lots of light and matches your home’s outer theme is an important element in a total shoestring makeover.
Raise some flower beds. Growing plants on your lawn can become a messy proposition as the summer’s heat starts to bear down. Built-up beds are easier to maintain than patches in the grass and they lend a bit of formality to the space. Choose a location that makes sense, like along a walkway or up against the porch so visitors are greeted with your cheery plants.
It doesn’t take a huge budget to make changes to the outward appearance of your home. Planning colors and accessories strategically makes all the difference, especially when you’re on a limited budget.
Not Sure You’re Ready for Painting or Installing Fixtures? Not everyone is handy or inclined to find out if they can paint by doing it, and that’s ok, too. These inexpensive projects can be tackled by a home pro easily. Just log in to HomeKeepr to find a painter, electrician, landscaper or general handyman that your Realtor has already recommended! Your house will be refreshed and renewed in no time.
Better concrete painting tips will improve the look of your painted concrete
Concrete has been used by humans for thousands of years, with some of the oldest examples of wells and houses made with the stuff dating back to 6500 BC. Although the ingredients have been refined over time, it’s still basically the same material that those ancient people valued so highly.
Even though concrete’s a really useful substance, it’s not particularly interesting. The endless gray of any random basement or garage is almost enough to make a person go mad. That’s probably why so many homeowners try to paint their concrete floors without considering how concrete is different from other types of building materials. Too often, they end up with the wrong materials or improper preparation, guaranteeing the coating will fail miserably.
Painting Concrete Isn’t Like Painting Your House Concrete is a tricky substance. Unlike wood that is relatively non-porous, concrete literally breathes and wicks water constantly. This is why you’ll see older homes with miserable paint jobs on their patios, in the basement, or anywhere there’s a lot of concrete. That paint didn’t stand a chance of bonding to the concrete without a lot of help.
But your paint job will be different, that’s why you’re here! Removing old paint from a concrete slab can be a challenging job, but the end result is a glorious floor that twinkles in the sunlight. How about some tips for doing the job right?
#1. Choose concrete stain or dye. One of the main reasons that house paint peels off of concrete is because it doesn’t breathe like the concrete surface. This leads to moisture build-up below the paint, causing adherence to be lost entirely. Concrete stains and concrete dyes are different — they breathe just like the concrete. Stains are made of a blend of acrylic polymers and pigments that react chemically with the concrete surface; dyes, on the other hand, are nonreactive and color the cement when the very small particles penetrate into the surface.
#2. Epoxy garage floor paint is another option. Although it’s much more challenging to apply correctly, if you really want to “paint” the floor, an epoxy-based garage floor paint can be applied to your cleaned and prepped concrete surface. Bear in mind that epoxy takes time to dry and then has to have an additional curing period to harden properly. If you’re dealing with an interior space, you’ll also need lots of ventilation, otherwise the fumes could be your downfall.
#3. Take the time to prep the floor right. This may mean removing old paint with chemical paint remover, power washing the surface or even renting a grinder and roughing up the floor while eliminating old paint. When you’re prepping a concrete floor for painting, it should be just slightly rough, similar in texture to 120 grit sandpaper. Take your time and don’t settle for “good enough.”
#4. Always wash the bared floor thoroughly. With all that old paint gone and traces of various chemicals left behind, it’s definitely time to wash the concrete. Not only does this remove any stray material that might have been missed, you’ll ensure that no unplanned chemical reactions occur (you’re not going to blow up the house, but your paint may fail to adhere). Let it dry thoroughly, for days if possible.
#5. Test for moisture penetration. You’ve cleaned your concrete slab and you’re ready to paint! Except you’re not. You still need to check out the level of moisture penetration coming through the slab. Remember how you can’t use wall paint on concrete floors because it needs to breathe? It’s still breathing. The question now is just how much.
You can test this by covering a three foot by three foot area of the floor with heavy clear plastic sheeting. Tape it down completely and just walk away. Check in with it in a couple of days. If there’s no moisture collecting under the plastic, you’re golden. If there is, you may need to apply a masonry sealer first and retest before applying the final color (ask your paint monger what solution works best in your area).
#6. Priming is vital to success. You’ve probably painted walls and other things without applying a proper primer and it worked just fine, but we’re comparing apples to space ships here. Concrete not only is expected to take a lot harder beating than any random wall, it has all that complicated breathing going on. Skip the primer and you might as well just not do the project at all because you’ll just have to redo it in a few weeks or months.
Concrete Painting Giving You the Jitters? It’s ok, if you’re not ready for a project like this you certainly don’t have to go it alone. Just log into your friendly HomeKeepr community and you’ll have no trouble finding a concrete contractor who can create the cement floor you’ve been dreaming about. Since they’re been recommended by your Realtor, you know they’re experienced and can be trusted. You dream up the concrete floors you want, HomeKeepr’s home pros will bring them to life.
Given the choice, members of the millennial generation would rather walk than drive. A recent study by NAR and Portland State University finds that Americans ages 1834 are 12 percent more likely to walk as a mode of transportation compared to driving. The 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey finds that this demographic also prefers to live within walking distance of shops and restaurants and have a short commute, and they are the most likely age group to make use of public transportation.
Millennials may be leading the pack, but 48 percent of Americans overall say they would prefer to live in communities containing houses with small yards but within easy walking distance of local amenities, instead of living in communities with houses that have large yards, but require lots of driving. And while 60 percent of adults surveyed currently live in detached, single-family homes, 25 percent of those respondents said they would rather live in an attached home and have greater walkability.
85% of survey participants said that sidewalks are a positive factor when purchasing a home.
The report finds that sidewalks matter: 85 percent of survey participants said that sidewalks are a positive factor when purchasing a home, and 79 percent place importance on being within easy walking distance of amenities and transportation. Women in particular value walkability in their communities, with 61 percent indicating that having sidewalks with stores and restaurants to walk to is very important.
When you are ready to buy a home, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.
Crowdfunding- should it be done to buy a house? Should Buyers Crowdfund Their Way Into Homeownership? In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular way to pay for a remarkably wide range of ventures. Want to back a sliced-ketchup product, a self-serve cocktail machine, or maybe a charity race? Just pull out your smartphone. But more recently the technology has been moving a bit closer to home—right up, in fact, to your doorstep. Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular way for aspiring home buyers to tap into their networks to come up with down payments.
A new wave of crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter for real estate, could be a game changer for younger, tech-savvy generations of home buyers saddled with student loan debt. It’s an idea that is gaining traction, with sites such as HomeFundMe and Feather the Nest, which helps folks raise money for down payments and repairs, and online registries such as HoneyFund, which includes the option of gifting a down payment contribution.
“The No. 1 challenge that we hear from millennials in terms of their ability to buy a home is the down payment,” says Jonathan Lawless, vice president of customer solutions for Fannie Mae. “Crowdsourcing is an interesting new way that a person can generate a down payment, one made possible by technology. … We think there is a great future for it.”
Users who are typically pre-qualified for a mortgage can create personal pages on these platforms, on which they can talk about their journey toward homeownership, illustrated with photos and maybe video. These pages can be shared with family and friends. “[Many] people find they can afford [mortgage] payments, but not the down payment to own a home,” says Christopher George, CEO of CMG Financial, a San Ramon, CA–based mortgage banking firm that launched HomeFundMe late last year.
George, a father of four millennial sons, came up with the idea for HomeFundMe in 2016 after seeing the financial struggles of his kids’ generation. The crowdfunding platform is the only one of the bunch designed solely for down payments and is the first to be backed by mortgage industry giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“We’re talking to millennials saying their social network is their net worth,” George says. “Why not allow your sphere of influence [to] help as well?”
What you need to know about a crowdfunded down payment Using gifted funds for a down payment can be tricky—mortgage lenders typically require a letter from the giver, specifying that the money is a gift, not a loan, and there are no strings attached. But using an online fundraising platform can allow buyers to bypass some of that red tape.
Using HomeFundMe, anyone can give up to $7,500 to a campaign without documentation. HomeFundMe also doesn’t charge fees to use the platform, or take a cut of what’s raised. The company will even give buyers $2 for every $1 they raise, up to $1,000, or up to 1% of the purchase price if they undergo home buyer counseling beforehand. Buyers who earn less than their area’s median income can earn up to $2,500, or 1% of the home price.
So what’s the catch? Crowdfunders must get their mortgage through HomeFundMe’s parent company, CMG Financial. They have to close on a home within a year of accepting their first gift. And if they don’t use the money to buy a home, funds marked “conditional on the recipient purchasing a home” are returned to the donor. The crowdfunder can keep the rest.
Other crowdfunding platforms have slightly different business models.
The online gift registry Feather the Nest has helped about half of its 3,000 “nesters” raise down payments since it launched in 2014, according to company officials.
Fees include a 5% transaction fee that goes to Feather the Nest, and a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents that goes to its payment processing system, Stripe.
At HoneyFund, another online registry, about 6% of the 100,000 mostly millennial couples who use the site each year ask for down payments, according to company officials. There are no fees to use the platform, but users are charged 2.8% processing fees plus 30 cents per gift when the money is moved into their PayPal or WePay accounts.
“A lot of couples are not only saving for their home down payments but also home improvements,” HoneyFund CEO Sara Margulis says.
The dangers of crowdfunding your down payment However, there are risks to buyers relying on crowdfunding to come up with money for a home.
“If somebody is not able to save for their own down payment, it might be because they are stretched financially. But it [also] might be that they are bad at saving,” says Fannie Mae’s Lawless. “The ability to generate savings is a critical aspect of being a responsible homeowner.”
Remember, it was homeowners who couldn’t really afford their homes that led to the financial crisis just over a decade ago. So helping more people who haven’t mastered the art of saving, or who may be so financially stretched that they can’t afford to save, is worrisome.
It’s “a very risky proposition,” says Rick Sharga, executive vice president at Carrington Mortgage Holdings, a real estate company in Aliso Viejo, CA. These kinds of buyers may be “one unexpected car payment, one roof repair, one water heater replacement away from missing a mortgage payment and possibly going into a downward cycle they can’t recover from.” Article taken from Realtor.com
When you are ready to buy a house, contact us, here at Dupont Real Estate.
Owning is becoming more popular than renting. Rising wages, loosening credit standards and demographic shifts are all creating momentum for owning rather than renting.
The homeownership rate rose from the prior year for the fifth consecutive quarter in 2018, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday. Owning a home is becoming more common. It held steady at 64.2%, unchanged from the prior quarter and its highest level since 2014. The share of Americans who own a home rose from the prior year, from 63.6% in the first quarter of 2017.
The homeownership rate rose last year for the first time in 13 years. That marked a turning point in the recovery, during which home prices have risen sharply and credit standards were initially very tight, blocking many renters from buying homes.
The U.S. added 1.3 million owner households over the last year and lost 286,000 renter households, the fourth consecutive quarter in which the number of renter households declined from the same quarter a year earlier. That could pose challenges for apartment landlords, who are bracing this year for one of the largest infusions of new rental supply in three decades. “Landlords should start to take caution,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist and founder of Veritas Urbis Economics, a consulting firm. “There’s going to be downward pressure on rents in the near future.” Rising wages and looser credit standards have helped bolster demand for homes in the last year. Fannie Mae made it easier for borrowers to take on more debt in the middle of last year, which coincided with a significant rise in the homeownership rate.
Demographics trends also increasingly favor homeownership, as members of the large millennial generation are entering their early to mid 30s, when people typically marry, have children and purchase their first home.
Nonetheless, challenges remain. Rising interest rates this year and a tax bill that passed late last year that diminished the tax benefits of homeownership were expected to dampen demand for homes this year.
The rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hit 4.58% this week—the highest level since August 2013, according to data released by Freddie Mac on Thursday.
Limited inventory and rising prices are also making it difficult for young people to buy their first homes, as they compete in fierce bidding wars and often lose out to downsizing baby boomers or investors able to pay cash or make large down payments.
The homeownership rate for households headed by someone 35 years or younger declined to 35.3% from 36% the prior quarter. Nonetheless, it rose a full percentage point from 34.3% in the first quarter a year ago—the fifth consecutive quarter it has gone up on an annual basis.
A lack of homes for sale is also creating challenges for would-be buyers. The homeowner vacancy rate declined to 1.5% from 1.7% a year earlier, according to the Census data. That is down significantly from the recent peak of 2.8% during the housing bust in 2008 and close to the level seen in the early 1990s, according to Tian Liu, chief economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance.
That is likely to push home prices up even further, Mr. Liu said.
When you are ready to buy or sell a home, contact us at Dupont Real Estate.